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visitors since May 12, 2002
March 26, 2002
Anger and frustration ... things I remember well

Aaaargh. The pain and fury of wasting time. I've just had a largely pointless day at work, which has (once again) brought home to me that I have to make some widespread changes to what I do to earn money.

Traditionally, whenever I've had a bad day at work, my standard response has been to get angry and frustrated. But I can't do that anymore. As they say on bad American daytime television, I'm over being angry and frustrated. I've finally figured out that it doesn't achieve anything. The real problem is that I'm teaching a subject which literally doesn't count for anything. It's an optional course with no homework or assignments or tests. Students pass the course simply by turning up to enough classes. And I've come to see that it doesn't count much for me, either.

Apart from one thing: it's given me experience and practice in teaching. And not all of today was bad: after a frustrating morning I then taught a class in which I filmed eighteen students making two to three minute presentations. After we finished that I gave them the choice: either leave now, if you wish, or stay back and watch your presentation. Fifteen students left, some at a run, and three students stayed. One who stayed had made the best presentation in the class. Did she stay because she wanted to relive her moment of glory?

Well, no. She stayed because she wanted to learn how to do it even better next time. So the four of us sat there, and watched the tape again, and traded observations. And it slowly became obvious that, contrary to first impressions, she'd actually been extremely nervous when she was making her presentation. So we talked about how she'd concealed that, and what specific gesture she did to give it away. And we talked about why everyone had listened to her with rapt attention. By the time she left, she'd gotten a glimpse of how she comes across to other people, and why she comes across so well. She genuinely wanted to learn, and did.

So, the upshot of all this is that I want to do more real teaching like this. I want to be teaching something I care about, and I want to teach students who are keen to learn.

And sometime real soon I'm going to start thinking about how I can do that.


So: a mixed day, all round. And yesterday I walked 11 kilometres along the Razorback to Mt. Feathertop, and the same 11 kilometres back again. Health report: legs are still on fire, and today's walk home from work took a recordbreaking length of time. But I'm glad I did the Feathertop walk: it was a beautiful day and it felt great being back in the mountains.

     Posted by Sean Hegarty at 12:52 AM in the Educational category | Comments (0)
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